Oracle will “lend weight” to NetSuite channel

A view of Oracle's office building in Silicon Valley, California

NetSuite’s proposed acquisition by Oracle should be good for business, according to one of the cloud ERP vendor’s biggest UK partners.

Ian Irwin, managing director of NoBlue said the takeover would lend weight to NetSuite’s operations, which he describes as “a very well-kept secret” in the UK.

“When we position NetSuite and try to give it some credibility we can say it’s part of the Oracle family, which is known and has established credibility and will lend some good weight for us,” he told Channel Pro at NetSuite’s SuiteConnect event earlier this month. “I think they’re going to attract more partners, more customers, more everything.”

Irwin admitted NoBlue did have “one or two” prospects that have felt jittery about Oracle’s plans: “Oracle’s were products they were evaluating alongside NetSuite, and they specifically want NetSuite. It’s the most appropriate for them, so it did raise some concerns,” he explained.

While it’s still too early to speculate as to how the acquisition will play out with both vendors’ sets of channel partners, it has raised the question of their cross-selling products – something NoBlue wouldn’t choose if it were an option: “We decided we only wanted to sell NetSuite; we don’t want to sell Oracle or SAP or Microsoft – if we did we’d be doing it.”

However, Irwin believes Oracle is likely to recognise the value of NetSuite, so he doesn’t anticipate too much change: “I’m not concerned Oracle is going to come in and start changing things wholesale; I think they’re smart enough to recognise why NetSuite has been so successful.”

Irwin said most of its customers are solely looking at cloud-based ERP systems – a far cry from when the firm first established its relationship with NetSuite. “We used to have to work really hard to persuade people that the cloud was a good idea, and they shouldn’t be scared of it. That changed about three years ago and suddenly it stopped being the first objection we had to get over, and it was something they were actively seeking. Most of the companies we’re dealing with now are exclusively looking for cloud ERP – happy days for us because it means it’s less of a battle.”

Meanwhile, the MD said announcements made at SuiteWorld earlier this year regarding the re-design of NetSuite’s Solution Provider Programme were “music to our ears”. The vendor said it was to replace its revenue-based scoring system with a new set of performance indicators based on the “four Cs” of Commerce, Competency, Customers and ‘Collaboration.

“It’s great because it’s not purely based on what you’ve sold, because what you’ve sold isn’t a measure of how good you at what you do,” he said. “It also gives the more established people like us the ability to differentiate ourselves from the small people that are going to pop up.”

NetSuite currently has 30 channel partners in the UK – a figure NetSuite’s EMEA MD Mark Woodhams says “feels like the right number” – and it’s currently unclear how much the proposed acquisition will affect those numbers.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.